Amazon Cloud Accepts Microsoft 'License Mobility' Program

Amazon announced last week that the Microsoft "license mobility with Software Assurance (SA)" program can also apply to Amazon Web Services (AWS), which means that companies with Microsoft volume licensing and SA agreements in place may be able to transfer the on-premise licenses for Microsoft application server products the AWS cloud without paying additional licensing costs.

Microsoft's license mobility with SA program applies just to some of its application servers. It does not apply to Windows licensing. Organizations paying to use a public cloud typically get access to Windows Server through the Service Provider Licensing Agreement (SPLA) that the service provider signed with Microsoft. In addition, Windows is licensed per device, which is another reason why an organization's on-premises Windows licenses aren't transferrable to public cloud infrastructures.

Licenses for the following Microsoft application server products are eligible for Microsoft's mobility program, provided that they are covered by Microsoft's SA licensing option:

  • Microsoft Exchange Server
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM
  • Microsoft Lync Server
  • Microsoft SharePoint Server
  • Microsoft SQL Server (Standard and Enterprise Editions)
  • Microsoft System Center

Amazon claimed in its announcement that companies with volume licensing and SA agreements in place have been upgrading to the cloud using Microsoft's mobility licensing option. For instance, they may move from using SharePoint 2007 on premises to using SharePoint 2010 on the AWS cloud.

Amazon lays out the eligibility requirements to use Microsoft's mobility licensing option on this page. The license mobility program is described by Microsoft here.

An important caveat is that SA agreements also have to be in place with Microsoft for the Client Access Licenses, or CALs, used to access the application servers.

Microsoft first announced this license mobility program back in March, but the program took effect on July 1. The licensing mobility program also got mentioned at the 2011 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Convention in Los Angeles, which took place last week.

Microsoft had announced back in March that the licensing mobility program would apply to service providers with SPLA agreements. Consequently, the program is opened up to AWS or any other authorized public cloud hosting company or value-added reseller that may want to participate.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


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